Which Boilers Are Most Efficient?
Heating your home is an essential part of everyday life, particularly during the colder months. The average household spends around 55% of their annual energy bills on heating, so with that in mind, it’s well worth looking for the most efficient way of heating your home, to keep costs down whilst living comfortably at the same time.
A major component of reducing the cost of your heating bills is to invest in the most efficient boiler. Without the right information and knowledge beforehand, choosing which boiler to invest in for your home can be extremely confusing. This guide will cover the different types of boilers and how efficient each of them are, so that you can make a more informed decision on the most cost-effective boiler to heat your home.
Gas, Oil or Electric Boilers?
There are three main types of boilers when it comes to the fuel or source that they use to produce heat for our homes – gas boilers, oil-fired boilers and electric storage heaters.
It’s estimated that around 23 million homes in the UK use gas boilers, whilst just 2 million use electric storage heaters and a measly 1 million use oil-fired boilers. Gas boilers are much more efficient than oil boilers and electric storage heaters, costing a household around £550 a year on average for central heating. For the same amount of heat using an oil-fired boiler, it would cost around £700 a year, and at least £900 a year with electric storage heaters.
The cost of these energy sources all boils down the cost of using gas, oil and electricity, as well as quickly and efficiently each fuel type can be converted into heat.
Combi, System or Regular Boilers?
Not only do you need to consider the different fuel types available and the efficiency of each, you will also need to consider the various boiler systems and how they go about producing heat for your home.
Combi Boiler Systems
A combi boiler system pairs together a water heater with the central heating system, and allows you to heat water as and when you require it. Because of this, combi boiler systems are extremely efficient and cost-effective, as the quickly heat water when it’s needed rather than heating it up beforehand and storing it in a cylinder.
Whilst combi boiler systems work well for most homes, they are particularly useful for small properties with very little loft space.
System boilers consist of a hot water storage cylinder and the boiler itself. The main heating elements are built into the boiler, which provides a constant supply of hot water to as many taps as is needed at any given time. System boilers are very efficient to run and can be used with solar water heating systems to reduce the impact on the environment and to reduce your energy costs, too.
System boilers are beneficial for properties with more than one bathroom, in order for your household to make use of different taps at the same time, in as efficient a way as possible.
Regular boiler systems consist of a heating system which is paired with a hot water storage cylinder. They also require a cold water storage tank, which replenishes the hot water storage levels as and when the hot water is used by the household. Another storage tank keeps water level within the central heating system topped up, too.
Regular boilers are best used in homes that has traditional radiator systems throughout, which may struggle to withstand the high water pressures associated with system and combi boilers. They are also ideal for homes that frequently use a lot of hot water and where water pressure is low.
The Most Efficient Fuel and Boiler System
As we have discussed, gas continues to be the most efficient and cost-saving fuel to use when heating a home, but which boiler system is best used with this fuel?
Traditional gas boilers typically have a separate cylinder to store hot water, as opposed to providing the hot water directly from the boiler. When it comes to replacing your traditional boiler, you have the option to choose between a regular boiler paired with your existing hot water cylinder, or a combi boiler that doesn’t use a cylinder.
Both of these boiler systems are very efficient. The regular boiler system produces hot water before it is needed, but it loses some efficiency points when some of the heat is lost in the hot water storage cylinder. It’s for this reason why the combi boiler is just as efficient, if not slightly more efficient, than the regular boiler system.
To decide between the two, you will have to consider your own property and lifestyle habits, each of which can play a role in how efficient your boiler is:
- Large households will find a regular boiler system more efficient as they are more likely to be using lots of hot water
- Smaller household typically use less hot water and so will benefit from a combi boiler system
- Lack of storage space or loft space will require combi boiler system which takes up much less room than a regular boiler system
- If you have already adopted a solar water heating system or are thinking about doing so in the future, a regular boiler system is the best choice as combi boilers are not compatible
At the end of the day, the best and most efficient boiler for you could be entirely different to that of another household. However, with this guide, you should be able to make a more informed decision on how to reduce your energy costs with a more efficient boiler system.